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Home » Resources » Gender-Based Violence in Southern Sudan: Justice for Women Long Overdue

Gender-Based Violence in Southern Sudan: Justice for Women Long Overdue

Publication Date: 
December, 2011

A Study for the Enough Project by the Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic at Yale Law School


Southern Sudan has a history of gender-based violence (GBV) during times of conflict and instability. GBV is any act of violence against women that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.2

Five years after the official end of the civil war, GBV remains prevalent in Southern Sudan. Women and children are raped and abducted, with sex workers and women of foreign origin particularly vulnerable. With insecurity increasing in many regions of Sudan, GBV has become more frequent, and women are now specifically targeted during violent inter-ethnic conflict. Sudan’s security and armed forces are responsible for much of this violence. However, Sudanese authorities and the international community have failed to protect women from GBV or to hold perpetrators responsible. The number of GBV incidents will likely increase as tensions rise in the aftermath of the 2011 referendum on whether Southern Sudan should become independent. International actors concerned about Sudan’s future, including the United This study examines the extent and the sources of gender-based violence in Southern Sudan and analyzes the ability of GBV survivors to secure justice. During Sudan’s second civil war, which ended in 2005, many women experienced rape, forced marriage, and abduction.

The effects of Sudan’s civil wars linger in Sudan and may contribute to instability in the period surrounding Southern Sudan’s 2011 referendum.


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